As an ardent cinema
follower, I always thought that film making is a field for dreamers, people who
create magic through various forms of art such as acting, music, dance etc.
Recently my belief was shaken when I came across few alarming facts and
figures. Though a film is perceived as a canvas with wonderful colors and an
art form nurtured by creative team, however at the back-end it work
as a well thought of business project most of the time.
Yes, you heard it right
Film making is a strategic business. Every business’s prime motto is to earn profit
and film making is no different than any other business. These days, it’s all
about number game. Film making has turned into a venture which is webbed around
facts and figures and those numbers are quite deceptive for audience to
understand. With corporate entering off late in this stream,
it became so complex and competitive, that an innocent movie lover or cine
goer is not able to understand it and feel cheated when they come out of the
theaters after watching a movie which does not holds value for money for them.
Most of the times, movies are showcased completely indifferently through
tempting teasers, promos, previews and extensive publicity that audience get
baffled and then be-fooled ultimately.
Nowadays, it takes only
a weekend to decide the fate of a movie. Even an average movie can manage to
recover its money or generate profit before any negative publicity through word
of mouth manages to do any harm.Whereas, in good olden days, pinnacle of box
office glory was used to be the diamond jubilee tag. Diamond Jubilee meant that
movie has been played for 75 consecutive weeks. In today’s world producers are
mighty pleased even if their films survive second week at the box office.
Below facts and figures
is real eye opener. Predominantly in most of the cases an average or just above
average movie labeled by renowned film critics has managed to do exceedingly
well commercially and have found its place in top ten highest all time
Top ten highest all time earning Bollywood movies
Even on the pretext of being a movie buff
myself, from the above table I would not like to revisit more than 1 or 2 movie
if given a chance.
Soulful cinema which I and most of the
Bollywood lovers want to see again and again finds space in our personal DVD
collection or in external hard drives. As we all are living a fast paced life,
we hardly find time to even dust the cover of our favorite DVD’s regularly.
Cropping multiplexes, number of prints
released globally and strategically
selected date of movie release, such as extended weekends
due to festivals or national holidays etc., extend towards the box office fate
of a movie. In above matrix it’s clearly evident that in mere 3 days
to 9 days a movie manages to enter the “100 Crore Club” despite critic’s good/
bad /ugly rating. On the other hand, highly critically acclaimed movies such as
“The Lunch Box”, “A Wednesday”, “Udaan”, “Shahid” and many other excellent
movies have done an average or no business at box office.
There can be only two reason for this – Either
the creative team intentionally decided to stick to the basics of making good
cinema and honest to the content or to a large extent possibility is that these
movies not able to scale up by enrolling superstars, massive budgets and
extensive promotional tactics due to lack of resources.
Following is an example
of how a typical Big Budget Bollywood movie shapes up from head to toe, and
end up in statistics:
Producers who sell their
film out rightly to a studio are equal beneficiaries. To help explain better –
Atul Agnihotri, the maker of “Bodyguard”, sold the Salman Khan-starrer to
Reliance Entertainment, for a reported Rs 60 crore. Film’s net box-office
collection was Rs 148 crore. In such deals, the onus of marketing, movie
releasing and thereafter making profits rests solely on the one who buys it.
Similar to Atul Agnihotri, Excel Entertainment also played a safe bet by
selling “Don 2” to Reliance; Arbaaz Khan managed to strike a similar deal by
selling “Dabangg” to Ashtavinayak.
Digital prints have
played a significant role as digitization enables bigger releases. Hindi movies
have successfully embraced digital prints over analog prints in the past seven
years. Digital prints provide producers the flexibility to add or decrease screens
according to their availability in real time.
Aggressive marketing has
become strategic norm before any release, similar to the practice
seen in Hollywood. “Ra.One” is a shining example of this strategy in
Bollywood. Film enjoyed the longest and most elaborate marketing
campaigns in the history of Indian cinema. Nowadays, even average-budget films
are spending lavishly on marketing to gain visibility.
New revenue streams have
opened for filmmakers. Cable and satellite rights, for one, are turning to be a
cash cow. Producers of big-budget films are able to recover up to 80% of costs
even before release by selling the movie to the distributors. “Agent Vinod”,
for instance, was a box-office disaster but as it was sold even before release;
producers of the movie were able to cushion the financial impact.
with foreign tourism boards such as “Zindagi Na Milega Dobara” tied
up with Spanish tourist authorities can also offset costs. However, box office
screening is still the main contributor with more than 70% of film’s overall
revenue coming from it. In Addition to it, satellite, music, home video,
overseas rights, new media, digital rights and other smaller revenue streams
add to the profit.
As an audience our focus
is merely getting entertained however we certainly don’t able to spend time
analyzing beforehand whether it will be worth the entertainment value perceived
by us or not and end up getting frustrated most of time.
As a cinema lover, I
always lose heart when I see a good movie getting phased out without getting
its due share. I hope thinks will not go from bad to worse in future. To keep
the motivation high of film makers it is very important that good
movies do succeed critically and commercially both. As
an audience, we should get many more reasons to celebrate Indian
cinema than to repent and our films out shine on a global platform
and make us proud.
References use for the
data for this article: